Steve FanaleStartups
Bio

Over the past 25 years I've had the pleasure of working with some amazing people in a variety of industries. Working with start ups, starting 6 of my own and years of professional experience has exposed me to all types of business models, management styles, selling techniques, production methodologies and marketing strategies. I've also felt the highs of great success and the lows of disappointing failure and believe this diverse background allows me to help businesses and business owners grow, develop and learn to enjoy the ride. I'm a seasoned digital entrepreneur with a desire to help businesses reach their full potential.



Recent Answers


This is a very good question and one that all start ups struggle with. Check this image out, it is the best visual representation of what an MVP should be http://bit.ly/1GasIj1

What is the status of your idea development. Have you built a wheel or a skateboard? The main point being, your idea must be developed enough to give some level of value to the customers and most importantly (a lot of entrepreneurs dont focus on this) a great user experience. It may not be your full vision for the product but it provides a quality service. If you launch an idea that breaks, has loads of bugs, isnt followed up with great service the test of potential is tainted and therefore not a true representation of the need in the market.

If you have a working skateboard launch. If you have a wheel time to rethink how what you can take to market to test and iterate.

If you'd like to discuss further feel free to book a call
Best regards
Steve


Interesting question. My first reaction is to advise you to learn how to pitch. Pitching to investors requires skills that you will need to run your business. Formulating a story, presenting in front of audience, selling your story. You'll need to do this when you are pitching to potential clients, managing staff, enticing partners etc. If you dont believe you have the skill to do this then you may need someone to fill that position. However that position may need to be CEO.

I've had plenty of experience coaching pitching to investors, clients, partners, staff and its all about focusing on what is important to the audience you are presenting to, creating a story and presenting confidently (ie practice, practice, practice). It is a skill that can be taught but some will take longer than others to learn so you may just need to persevere.

Feel free to book a call if you need to discuss further

Thanks
Steve


Agree with a lot of the comments already made. Here is my take.

How much will they pay? As mentioned, this will depend on not only the value you are generating today but how much value will your business provide when combined with theirs. It could also help if there is another business willing to buy your business. It may pay to find another potential buyer as it can ratchet up your business value quite alot.

At such an early stage multiples mean very little. It all depends on how much you are willing to sell it for. If this number is worlds apart from what they are willing to pay then its probably not worth wasting time discussing further. The amount can be affected by the terms of the deal. For example, whether its all cash or you earn equity in the merged company as well. If the latter potential upside could be significant so you dont necessarily need to get the big number up front. This model has many pros and cons and requires a lot of advice on contract terms particularly regarding control and commitment to investment.

Finally there was a recent acquisition I am aware of where the seller worked out a valuation based on how the buyer's company was valued. This is easy if the buying company is public, not so easy if the company is private and hasn't had any recent investment. But if possible and favourable it could be a great metric to use.

Hope that helps and feel free to call me to discuss further.


As mentioned Xero is probably the best accounting package you can use which includes invoicing, however there is a great simple invoicing app called invoice2go - very cool
http://www.invoice2go.com


I have worked with many start ups and this is a common problem. To really answer the question effectively it would be good to know what and who makes up your company at the moment.

Do you have any employees? Are you making any money? Are you the only shareholder? If the answer is yes to the latter it may be time to start being open to other people earning/buying equity in your business particularly if it is starting to get too lean. But that will only be an attractive option to other people if you have a good team and ideally making some money already.

However, assuming you have a service and/or product you can take to market and if you are determined to hold on to the entire house then your main course of action should be to focus on what brings in revenue. Nothing else matters. Sell, sell , hustle, hustle......

If you have no team or are struggling to keep paying for the team you have then equity should be offered to keep or attract the right people to your business. A good team working together is what a business needs to survive and thrive and it also makes the journey a lot more enjoyable if you have the right people on board. Trust me having been the lone ranger once, nothing beats having a good team of people you can work with.

If you don't currently have a product or service you can sell to customers then you need to reach that point asap. If it is a good idea and angels will invest, then just take enough to get you to that point. This minimises the amount of equity you give away plus gets you to the point of earning revenue sooner rather than later. The proper investors can also help you grow your business and therefore add more value than the cash itself.

I hope that helps and if you would like more advice fee free to schedule a call. Thanks Steve


I am assuming you are referring to a bug free app and when you say 99.9% you're referring to the % of functionality implemented as opposed to the quality level. Then I would say go live. I think Reid Hoffman's quote (founder of linked in) sums it up best. "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late."

Get something out in the market that gives you some idea if there is even a demand for the product you are producing. Not all good ideas are successful and the feedback you receive could even send you down another road, possibly saving you time and money building a product that no one wants.

Get that minimal viable product (MVP) out there, collect lots of data (analytics and feedback), learn and hustle.

If you want to read up on Lean start up philosophy and techniques buy Eric Reis book "Lean start up".

If you need any further assistance feel free to give me a call

Steve


Which is the 'best country'? Mmmmm that is difficult question to answer. One that is closer to your time zone would be good place to start. But more importantly I would assess your outsourcing options on the following criteria.

1. Do they have companies in your region that they have worked with before? If so can you get references?

2 Do they have local sales/account management?

3 I may have put this at no.3 but for me it is the most important. Do they have established project management processes? Ask them what software they use for project management, collaboration, code distribution, virtual communication etc. If they cant answer these questions and if you cant get access to them I wouldn't go anywhere near them.

4 How good is their written communication including the understanding of yours? Communication is important at the best of times but when you are outsourcing it is critical. Firstly it is important you have a comprehensive brief but then it is equally important that your outsource team can understand that brief. You should develop a test brief and see how they respond to it before engaging.

5 Price. Are they at least 3 x cheaper than what you can hire internally? If not hire and manage either local staff or contractors. If its not at least 3 x cheaper I dont believe you are saving any $ and only make the project more difficult.

6 Culture fit when it comes to meeting deadlines. This point is related to project management processes but I have found that in some cultures there is a tendency to agree to a deadline and guarantee they will deliver only to miss that deadline and worse still not communicate anything or feel that it is such a big issue. Probably the most frustrating part of outsourcing

Hope that helps. If you need any more assistance I'd be happy to discuss it further over the phone

Steve


Being prepared is not only knowing about how to pitch, your financials or what is great about your idea. It is just as important to know what are the weaknesses, pitfalls and risks in your business. Put yourself in your potential investors shoes. What fears are you going to have to quash for them to be interested. It doesn't mean you have to have all the solutions but at least give them the confidence that you are aware of them and that you need to solve them.

It's already been mentioned, early stage investors are investing in you and your ability as much as the idea, if not more. Your goal is to give them the confidence you know what you are getting yourself into. You know it's not going to be a cake walk and yet you are still prepared to back yourself and the idea.

If you'd like to discuss further any specific details, I'd be happy to jump on a call.


It depends on what you mean by 'stuck'. Emotionally or business not moving? I am going to assume the latter.

Then by your business being 'stuck' are you referring to revenue growth, profitability, business not expanding, business you are in is boring or all the above? For the purpose of my answer I will assume you are referring to revenue growth.

There could be many causes behind a business not moving. The key is to find the thing(s) that will get the wheels turning and then put that thing(s) on steroids so you can ramp up quickly.

Some reasons why your business may not be moving are the following:
- Your product/service is not meeting a strong enough need
- The quality of your product/service is not good enough
- Pricing is too high or too low
- Your target market doesn't know about your business or your product/service
- You don't have the the right members in your team to improve any of the above
- You are short of funds and find it difficult to improve any of the above
- Your experience and skills. Are you doing what you are good at?

Therefore the way out is analysis. Objective analysis.
- Speak to your customers. Existing and prospective.
- Review the feedback you are getting.
- Review product and site analytics if you are running an online or app business.
- Try different ways of marketing.
- Honestly assess the skills and ability of your team and yourself.
- Of course speak to an experienced advisor.

If you'd like me to assist further please give me a call


Lots of them
Ideally you should be looking to build a team to help you accomplish everything that needs to be done.
Are you a techie? A Creative? Have a business background?
What sort of app is it? A game, business or utility app?
The key areas that apply to all apps though are Business, Marketing, UI/Creative and of course tech. Then depending on the app specific skills may also be required. Game development or industry expertise


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